Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Layoffs Rumoured (November 4th) After Bad Results

Fisher ship



Summary: Rusty old ship cannot sustain its crew, based on a blog dominated by anonymous Microsoft employees

BY the admission of Microsoft's CEO, Vista 7 will not be a spectacular success. This admission came well before the negative financial results, which show that Windows revenue is down very sharply. We wrote about this (with references from the press) in:



That last item has some raw numbers to show that "PC unit sales up 1%; Windows revenue down 39%."

How can this be?

One word: margins.

According to one analyst, it's bound to get worse. Microsoft seems to agree.

Netbooks, Office likely to keep hurting Microsoft sales, analyst says



[...]

At least one analyst expects the trend to continue, even with the release of a netbook-friendly Windows 7 and a free Web version of Office for consumers.

Netbooks made up about 12% of total Windows shipments in the first quarter, Microsoft general manager for investor relations, Bill Koefoed, said in a conference call after the earnings release. And netbook shipments are likely to keep growing faster than the rest of the market, acknowledged Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell.


This is a bad time for Microsoft's CFO, no matter how optimistic he pretends to be (he has to). Microsoft's CFO quietly dumped a lot of his Microsoft shares back in August and he was not alone. According to the mainstream press:

Microsoft Corp. said Friday that its revenue fell and its net income dropped 18 percent in the past quarter, owing in part to sluggish business spending.


One has to be careful with the press because longtime Microsoft pumpers like Eric Savitz are currently boosting Microsoft using lies; to give just one example (among more) that we found in the past week alone, ahead of the results, Microsoft's estimates were described as "too high". This is nonsense. In reality, it's exactly the opposite and Microsoft is doing it again. In the following new article from Business Insider, which changed its headline from "Microsoft Lowers Q4 Guidance (MSFT)" for whatever reason (now it says "CNBC Blows Microsoft Guidance Cut"), it is clearly shown that Microsoft sets the expectations low so that they can be "beaten" later.

Update I: At about 10:50 ET this morning, CNBC and WSJ's Digits Blog reported that Microsoft had lowered its REVENUE guidance on its conference call. Not surprisingly, the stock immediately tanked.


As we have already learned, Microsoft was caught committing financial fraud to meet or beat targets [1, 2]. Microsoft paid to settle and the SEC let Microsoft off the hook, just as it did with SCO and Madoff for no good reason. In the next post we will show just how close Microsoft really is to the financial system, but in the mean time, it is worth showing that even the stock exchange decided to lend itself to Microsoft, almost to become some kind of drone for a convicted monopoly abuser. Watch and weep:

Microsoft gets Nasdaq opening bell, in Redmond



[...]

To mark the launch of Windows 7, Nasdaq will set up a remote bell on the Microsoft campus to ceremonially open the market Thursday morning.


Stock markets as cheerleaders for companies, eh? At least it becomes apparent who runs the show. Microsoft may already find classic excuses for bad results. Watch what shallow coverage Microsoft receives in the New York Times, which neglects to understand or to inform readers about Microsoft's crocodile tears [1, 2]. Typical New York Times [1, 2]. To quote Bill Gates, "It's easier for our software to compete with Linux when there's piracy than when there's not."

Going back to Business Insider, there is another new article with the headline "Microsoft's Still Toast":

After the PC market shrank this year, the argument is that a need to replace worn-out computer kit will return it to strong growth – helped by a desire to upgrade to Windows 7.... Microsoft, though, cautioned that corporate IT budgets are still very tight and likely to grow only slowly. The initial favourable consumer reaction to Windows 7 is helpful but the businesses that provide the bulk of tech spending weigh decisions to upgrade very carefully – particularly when shareholders are pressing them to keep costs under control...

Netbooks are still depressing prices and margins for the PC industry. And Bing’s increased share seems to be coming mainly from Yahoo, whose search function Microsoft has anyway agreed to take over. The familiar problems of an aggressive Google and the shift towards selling software as a service remain. Cost-cutting does not change that...


Daily Finance gives Microsoft a "C" grade.

Microsoft Corp's (MSFT) earnings announcement today reminds me of a story I heard years ago. A seventh grader steps off the school bus and marches into the house beaming. His mother asks him why he is so happy. He replies: "Great news mom, I got a 70!"

What does this have to do with Microsoft? This morning it reported that its first-quarter net income fell 18 percent to $3.6 billion and sales dropped 14 percent to $12.9 billion. Microsoft responded with all the enthusiasm of that seventh grader, noting, "We are very pleased with our performance this quarter."


Lies, artificial hype and the decoys of Vista 7 must be the reason for this. And how about those bogus launch parties?

Gizmodo pointed us to this (we think unintentionally) hilarious video in which Microsoft tries to get us to see the benefits of using their new software platform Microsoft 7 by throwing our very own Windows 7 launch party. Hang the streamers, set out the chips, program your iPod — and huddle around the computer!

That’s right. The video, which plays more like public service announcement than an exciting product launch, features four racial-and-age-diverse actors in block colors talking excitedly about how they made Windows 7 "the guest of honor" at their party.


Vista 7's launch was eventually a bit of a failure and it shows. Microsoft's stock sank after an irrational initial surge. To quote another financial news site:

Microsoft Corporation first quarter revenues fell 14.2% to $12.92 billion and net income fell 18.3% to $3.57 billion or 40 cents a share.


The headline chosen by Business News American is "Microsoft's Q1 net profits off 18% despite cost cuts" and this is important because a lot of publications 'forgot' to comment on Microsoft's failed attempts to buck the trend. Too few sites actually remember that Microsoft has slashed many employees and cut costs since one year ago, which did not help much.

At Groklaw, Pamela Jones wrote: "So. They lost money, but managed to pull off a profit by cutting employees, research, marketing, etc. How long can you keep that up, I wonder?"

Sub-notebooks and GNU/Linux (both are related) must be harming Microsoft's once-considerable margins. Microsoft has admitted this openly on numerous occasions, without mentioning the "L" word. Here is the coverage from Electronista:

Microsoft today reported its third consecutive decline in quarterly revenue. The company's total revenue during the summer dropped a sharp 14 percent year-over-year to $12.92 billion and is attributed almost exclusively to the Windows division, whose own revenue fell 38.76 percent to $2.62 billion. It also saw a decline in the overall health of its Business and Online Services groups.


"Microsoft's Profit [and] Sales Fall" was the headline from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which someone later changed to "Microsoft Feeds Hopes for a Recovery." Did a WSJ editor intervene after the article had been published with negative outlooks for Microsoft?

Rumours have begun to mushroom in mini-Microsoft that there might be more publicly-announced layoffs in November (November 4th, one person says). This comes after a post on the subject -- one which was released for other Microsoft employees to discuss while major layoffs quietly carry on.

"There is such an overvaluation of technology stocks that it is absurd. I would include our stock in that category. It is bad for the long-term worth of the economy."

--Steve Ballmer

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